Coach Don Verlin has signed three players to letters of intent -- two North Idaho College recruits and a high schooler from Walla Walla. Read on for more info, as well as details about AD Rob Spear refusing to board a Bronco airplane.
First, here's the link to a story from a Boise TV station about Spear asking for a different flight after the Horizon plane he was supposed to board out of Pullman to Boise was decked out with the Bronco logo and colors. This week just gets more interesting.
Meanwhile ... the basketball signees are Idell Bell an Renaldo Parker, both of whom will play for NIC this season. Bell, a 6-2 combo guard, was a JC All-America last year at Brevard College in Florida while Parker is 6-6, 240 pounds and the former Washington Class 4A player of the year out of Kentridge High. Along with Gary Winston, a 6-1 guard from Walla Walla High, these signings fill half of Idaho's six available scholarships.
I'm planning on talking to Verlin this evening, so I'll update you with any more info -- but for now, here is Idaho's release:
MOSCOW, Idaho – Three highly-touted players have signed letters of intent to attend the University of Idaho and play basketball for the Vandals next season.
Idell Bell and Renado Parker will join the Vandal program from North Idaho College while Gary Winston has signed from Walla Walla High School.
“I can’t tell you how excited we are to welcome Idell, Renado and Gary to our Vandal basketball family,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said. “With the departure of six seniors who all will receive their degrees from the University of Idaho it was very important to continue to recruit quality student-athletes with high character and a passion to carry on and add to the foundation of our basketball program. These three players fit that mold.”
Bell, a 6-foot-2-inch combo guard from Lakeland, Fla., played the 2007-2008 season at Brevard Community College in Florida where was named a National Junior College Athletic Association All-American and averaged 20.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. He shot 45 percent from the floor and 44 percent from beyond the arc with 72 3-pointers. He transferred to NIC and will play his sophomore season for the Cardinals this winter.
“Idell is an intense competitor at the guard position who can lead a team, knock down the three, and defend his position,” Verlin said. “Above all, Idell is a superb young man who will earn his degree and represent Idaho in a first-class manner.”
Parker, a 6-foot-6-inch, 240-pound forward from Seattle, Wash., was the player of the year in the Scenic West Athletic Conference last season and was named to the National Junior College Athletic Association All-America first team. He averaged 14.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game as a freshman and will play his sophomore season at NIC this winter. Parker was named the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches 4A Player of the Year in the state of Washington as a senior at Kentridge High School and is the school’s all-time leading scorer.
“Renado is a tremendous physical talent,” Verlin said. “He has shown both a physical and mental toughness while playing for one of the best junior colleges in the nation that has allowed him to become one of the most productive players in the country. After getting to know him and his family during the recruiting process it was apparent he would be a great addition to our basketball program and the University of Idaho.”
The Cardinals entered the 2009-10 season ranked No. 5 in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll and No. 22 among all two-year institutions by the Sporting News Magazine.
Winston, a 6-foot-1-inch guard, currently is ranked as the No. 2 point guard in the state of Washington by www.northwesthoops.com. He is a two-time all-Big 9 selection and was the Cascade Division Defensive Player of the Year last season. He earned Honorable Mention All-State status as a junior after leading the Blue Devils to the Big 9 District title and a berth in the State 4A Basketball Tournament. Last season, in being named the Tri-City Herald’s All-Area MVP, he averaged 16.1 points and 4.0 rebounds per game and shot 51 percent from the field.
During his junior season, Winston led the Blue Devils to a 20-9 overall record, a second place league finish, and Walla Walla’s first District title in 19 years. He led the team in steals and assists and enters his senior season with 996 career points.
“It is very important for our program to be able to sign area players with Gary’s ability,” Verlin said. “He is an unbelievable person with a great attitude and infectious personality who also is a gifted point guard and an outstanding all-around athlete. He will be a pleasure to coach.”
The Idaho men’s basketball team opens the 2009-10 season at Utah Friday (Nov. 13).